ob·​so·​lete | \ ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt How to pronounce obsolete (audio) , ˈäb-sə-ˌlēt \

Definition of obsolete

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : no longer in use or no longer useful an obsolete word
b : of a kind or style no longer current : old-fashioned an obsolete technology farming methods that are now obsolete
2 of a plant or animal part : indistinct or imperfect as compared with a corresponding part in related organisms : vestigial


ob·​so·​lete | \ ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt How to pronounce obsolete (audio) , ˈäb-sə-ˌlēt \
obsoleted; obsoleting

Definition of obsolete (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make (something) old-fashioned or no longer useful : make obsolete

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Other Words from obsolete


obsoletely adverb
obsoleteness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for obsolete


old, ancient, venerable, antique, antiquated, archaic, obsolete mean having come into existence or use in the more or less distant past. old may apply to either actual or merely relative length of existence. old houses an old sweater of mine ancient applies to occurrence, existence, or use in or survival from the distant past. ancient accounts of dragons venerable stresses the impressiveness and dignity of great age. the family's venerable patriarch antique applies to what has come down from a former or ancient time. collected antique Chippendale furniture antiquated implies being discredited or outmoded or otherwise inappropriate to the present time. antiquated teaching methods archaic implies having the character or characteristics of a much earlier time. the play used archaic language to convey a sense of period obsolete may apply to something regarded as no longer acceptable or useful even though it is still in existence. a computer that makes earlier models obsolete

Examples of obsolete in a Sentence

Adjective It may not be welcome news in her home state of Pennsylvania, but chemist Cynthia Kuper could help make steel obsolete. Experimenting with carbon nanotubes, structures a few atoms wide but 100 times stronger and much lighter than steel, Kuper calls her work an "amusement park discovery." — Joanna Chung, Newsweek, 23 Sept. 2002 He exercised a right so rare, at this the fag-end of the century, as to be practically obsolete. The most fundamental right of all. The right to be the good guy. — Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2000 I never had parents, really. My mom was gone, my dad was at work or with his girlfriends, we had baby-sitters. My parents were obsolete. — Jonathan Kozol, Voices From the Future, 1993 The system was made obsolete by their invention. I was told my old printer is obsolete and I can't get replacement parts. Verb While many … do describe various small, quick-loading 35mm film cartridges, modern technology has obsoleted these. — Herbert Keppler, Popular Photography, November 1993 … older cpu's whose speed and efficiency never were fully tapped before they were effectively obsoleted by their manufacturers … — Edith Myers, Datamation, November 1977 For radio itself deliberately obsoletes today what it built yesterday. — David Sarnoff, Television, 1936
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective By having an early primary, states including Texas and California risk casting votes that become obsolete as the primary contest unfolds. Dallas News, "Texas has record voter numbers, but primary schedule makes it hard for presidential contenders to mobilize them," 15 Feb. 2020 The propane industry is engaging much more directly in the conversation about how to address climate change, in part to ensure it doesn’t become obsolete in a zero-carbon world. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "‘Innovate or die’: Propane industry fights for survival in a low-carbon future," 13 Feb. 2020 Not to mention the fact that photos start to fade throughout the decades and VHS tapes are basically obsolete at this point. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Legacybox Is a Mail-In Service That Will Digitize Your Old Photos and Tapes So You Can Keep Them Forever," 12 Feb. 2020 The song remains the same, but the playback device is somehow obsolete. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "A New Update of “High Fidelity” Feels Stuck in Its Original Century," 5 Feb. 2020 The third major modern heavyweight, Anthony Joshua, fights on DAZN, a streaming network based on a subscription model, which aims to make pay-per-view obsolete. Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker, "How Wilder-Fury II Became the Biggest Boxing Match in the World," 20 Feb. 2020 But Trump’s freewheeling approach to governance made those processes somewhat obsolete. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "John Bolton Has Run the Trump White House’s Greatest Scam," 28 Jan. 2020 Laser weapons are the next revolution in aerial warfare and could make dogfighting obsolete. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China's Airborne Laser Weapon Would Change Dogfighting Forever," 13 Jan. 2020 Axon: 'Make the bullet obsolete' Axon and ViVue have clashed in the past. Uriel J. Garcia, azcentral, "Scottsdale's Axon, known for Tasers and police cameras, sues the Federal Trade Commission," 3 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Why would SpaceX want to obsolete its own, dominant products? Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Block 5 rocket launch marks the end of the beginning for SpaceX," 3 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obsolete.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of obsolete


1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1640, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for obsolete

Adjective and Verb

Latin obsoletus, from past participle of obsolescere to grow old, become disused, perhaps from ob- toward + solēre to be accustomed

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Time Traveler for obsolete

Time Traveler

The first known use of obsolete was in 1579

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Statistics for obsolete

Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obsolete.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsolete. Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for obsolete


How to pronounce obsolete (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of obsolete

: no longer used because something newer exists : replaced by something newer
: no longer used by anyone


ob·​so·​lete | \ ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt How to pronounce obsolete (audio) \

Kids Definition of obsolete

: no longer in use : out-of-date The machinery is now obsolete.


ob·​so·​lete | \ ˌäb-sə-ˈlēt, ˈäb-sə-ˌ How to pronounce obsolete (audio) \

Medical Definition of obsolete

: no longer active or distinct obsolete cases of infection obsolete pulmonary lesions

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Comments on obsolete

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